New York Yankees: Why Is Luis Severino Struggling – Can He Fix It?

New York Yankees’ 24-year-old ace Luis Severino has shown a mid-season struggle as of late. In his last four starts through 19.1 innings pitched, Sevy has allowed 33 hits, 19 earned runs and 7 home runs – recording an 8.84 ERA. In those innings pitched, batters are hitting .384/.418/.698/1.115 against him.

He has allowed just 32 hits in his previous 47.1 innings pitched before things started to go south for him on July 7th against the Toronto Blue Jays. In his 18 starts before those last four, he posted a 1.98 ERA through 118.1 innings pitched, with allowing just six home runs and batters only hitting .195/.251/.282/.533 against him.

It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly the issue is here. In his last four starts, he is throwing 70% strikes compared to 68% strikes in the previous 18 starts. His BB% has actually gone down to 2.1% in the second half of the season from a 6.4 BB% in the first half.

The most alarming stats I have seen that should warrant concern for the front-end starter are his line-drive percentage, home-run per fly-ball percentage, and his hard-contact percentage. In his first 18 starts, Sevy has induced a 25 LD% – that number soars up to a 36 LD% in his last 4 starts. Just in July alone, Severino’s HR/FB% rocketed to a 25.9% from a 6.6% in the previous months. Same with his HC%, he is allowing a 39.8 HC% in July from a 32.0 HC% prior to July.

Put simply, he is throwing just as many strikes but is allowing batters to make way more hard contact, which in turn is producing more line-drives and more home runs. Prior to those struggling 4 starts, batters against him only averaged a .273 BAbip – in those 4 starts, a .433 BAbip. He has become extremely hittable since that July 7th start, and there could be a few reasons why.

Could Luis Severino be injured?

When comparing his best outing of the season to his worst, it seems he has lost some velocity on his pitches. On May 2nd in Houston, Sevy tossed a complete game shut out. In that game, he threw his fastball 55% of the time, his changeup 15% of the time, and his slider 31% of the time. The average velocity for each pitch in that outing was: FB – 99.0mph, CH – 89.4mph, SL – 89.4mph. His most recent start, arguably his worst, was July 28th at home against Kansas City where he threw for 4.1 innings and allowed 6 earned runs. In that game, he used his fastball 53% of the time, his changeup 6% of the time, and his slider 41% of the time. A similar approach, but the average velocity of each pitch was: FB – 97.5mph, CH – 87.4mph, SL – 88.2mph.

Is he tipping pitches?

This seems unlikely considering Severino’s caliber as a pitcher, but if that IS the case, that would explain why batters have been squaring up on his pitches more easily. A few ways that batters can anticipate the pitch before it leaves the mound is with different arm angles, motion speeds, glove positioning, and pitch grip visibility. This is a relatively easy fix – some video tape work and assessing body language and motion can help Severino take note of any hints he may be giving batters and can adjust accordingly.

Maybe Sevvy is just going through a mental slump?

When he has been lights-out all season, people sometimes forget that he’s still a human who is going to have blips throughout the year. In a post-game interview with catcher Austin Romine after the 7/28 outing, he stated that, “[Severino] was kind of scattered all over the place. I was trying to reiterate to him to stay down the zone and throw through me. He was kind of inconsistent with his fastball today,” according to the New York Times.

Severino is slated to open up the series against the Red Sox in Boston this week. Whatever the case may be, hopefully he can reset and put those last 4 starts behind him. With Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez out of the lineup, we will need our #1 starter on his A-game to hold down the Red Sox’s offense.

Are The New York Yankees Finished Making Deals Ahead Of The Deadline?

New York Yankees, Zach Britton

The New York Yankees are sitting at 67-37, six games behind in the AL East leading the Boston Red Sox going into the last weekend before the trade deadline. The team has already made power moves out of the All-Star break to bolster their roster with the additions of RP Zach Britton from the Orioles and SP J.A. Happ from the Blue Jays.

What did the New York Yankees get with Britton?

Zach Britton is a 2-Time All Star with the Orioles in 2015 & 2016, along with finishing 4th in Cy Young voting in 2016. Britton has struggled this season but has picked it up as of late. Since June 23rd he has been dominant, compiling a 1.50 ERA, .135 BAA, and opponents are averaging an OPS of less than .500 in this span. Britton offers another terrific lefty arm to add to an already dominant bullpen featuring the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Chad Green, & Jonathan Holder who all own below 3.00 ERA’s in 40+ innings of work respectively.

Two days after the acquisition, the Yankees made a move to address their most glaring weakness in the starting pitching rotation. The Yankees made a deal to bring in J.A. Happ. Happ is a veteran pitcher with a lot of experience pitching in the MLB, and even more specifically the AL East.

From the start of the season through June 13, Happ posted commanding numbers of an 8-3 record, 3.48 ERA, and a .207 BAA. He has struggled a lot of as of late however, giving up 4+ ER in 3 of his last 6 starts including 7 ER against the Tigers and 6 ER against the Yankees in back to back starts to start July. Happ’s value to the Yankees can be seen in his dominance against the division and specifically against the Boston Red Sox. The “heart” of the Red Sox lineup featuring Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, and Xander Bogaerts all struggle vs. Happ possessing .188 BA, .267 BA, .000 BA, and .154 BA respectively.

Brian Cashman has made it clear the Yanks are serious buyers in the trade market and I do not believe they are done improving their roster. With the injuries of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, the team has an opening for a DH/OF to fill the void in the coming weeks of the playoff race.

Names to be considered include Curtis Granderson & Jose Martinez. Granderson, a former Yankee suits the bill perfectly to fill in for Judge during his DL stint. He has 10 HR & 31 RBI’s on the year. A solid veteran lefty with some power in his bat, can help the clubhouse going forward as well as play games in the OF and DH. Jose Martinez of the Cardinals is another name that has surfaced and trade talks. The Cardinals are willing to part with him and he could fit well as a DH with the Yanks. Martinez posses a .295 BA, 13 HR, 57 RBI on the season. He will be a much tougher deal to make with years of control left on his contract following the end of this season.

If one thing is for sure however, it is that the Yankees are active and if there is one person to not rule out of anything its Brian Cashman. Expect the Yanks to be actively pursuing deals up until the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline.

New York Mets Injury Report: July 30, 2018

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

With the New York Mets virtually out of the playoff hunt, the injuries have slowed down a little and the Mets have put some key players on the shelf. There is no real need for anyone to return now and they are being extremely cautious with all of their players.

Michael Conforto (thumb) did not start in Sunday’s win against the Pittsburgh Pirates with a sore thumb. He first aggravated the thumb when he was jammed on a swing about two weeks ago and felt the pain again after being jammed a couple times on Saturday. He was well enough to pinch hit and with a day off Monday he should be back in the lineup on Tuesday.

Cespedes Out For the Season

Yoenis Cespedes (heels) announced he would be undergoing season-ending surgery on his heels on Wednesday. Cespedes only played in one game before he shut it down again because of the pain in his legs. The procedure will take 8-10 months to recover from and will likely take away from him playing in the beginning of 2019. Cespedes is set to make over $65 million over the next two years of his contract.

Noah Syndergaard (illness) is set to pitch again on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals. He suffered a hand, foot and mouth virus from working a youth camp over the All-Star break. The illness was not life threatening, but it was something only a Met would get. His name has been brought up in trade talks throughout the year, but it is apparent he will stay in New York.

Frazier Close, Bruce Not So Much

Todd Frazier (ribs) began a rehab assignment in Port St. Lucie on Saturday. After going his entire career without a DL stint, he has had two in his first season with the Mets. He is set to return at some point during the upcoming week. He has only hit .217/.300/.385 with 10 homers in 61 games this season.

Jay Bruce (hip) hopes to begin swinging a bat within the next few days. Bruce has had an extremely disappointing year with the bat and his health. He only has three home runs and 17 RBIs and his failures can be contributed to his poor health. The Mets hope to have him at 100% before they even think about putting him back on the roster.

New York Giants: Lorenzo Carter Reveals Role For This Season

There’s some big expectations on Lorenzo Carter, for a third round draft pick. The former Georgia Bulldog was selected with the intention of boosting the pass rush, both this year and going forward. Judging by his athleticism, it seems like he’s a good fit for that role.

But how are the Giants planning on using Carter in his rookie season? Carter himself told the official Giants website some things about that.

“I’m playing straight outside linebacker, strong side. My job is simple: set the edge, affect the passer and lastly I have to drop (into pass coverage). That’s an afterthought. In the front of my head is pass rushing and being aggressive going forward. I love it,” he said, confirming that the team intends to use him to attack the passer.

That aggressive playing style is something that the Giants need after the departure of Jason Pierre-Paul, who contributed 8.5 sacks last season before switching to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. Pierre-Paul played as a defensive end rather than an outside linebacker, but replacing his production is one of the reasons the Giants spent a third round pick on Carter.

Carter also spoke about his experiences in the first practices of training camp. “You can tell when your eyes are in the right place and your movements are doing the right things. I just try to keep doing what I’m doing. Try to keep getting that feeling… You definitely know when it’s going wrong, that’s when you just turn around and put the jets on, try to keep running.”

He hasn’t been a perfect player at this point, but that’s expected, as Carter said himself.  The important thing, however, is that the rookie pass rusher is learning and improving. “Everybody’s going to make mistakes, especially as a rookie, but you just have to make mistakes and you don’t lose, you just learn lessons.”

New York Giants: 3 Cheap Cornerback Options Left In Free Agency

Should the New York Giants grab Vontae Davis?

The loss of third-round pick Sam Beal in the supplemental draft for the New York Giants was a big slap in the face. General manager Dave Gettleman gave up a third-rounder from next year’s draft in hopes of collecting a corner that could contribute this season. Unfortunately, they will likely lose him for his rookie year due to a previous shoulder injury that was re-aggrevated.

This opens up the question – should the New York Giants try and sign a free agent corner?

The Giants only have about $1 million in cap-space remaining after bringing on veteran outside linebacker, Connor Barwin. While he was a stellar signing the secondary remains thin and in need of talent and depth. So, let’s take a look at a few low-cost options for Big Blue, and who might fit the bill given their potential cap-hit.

1.) CB Vontae Davis

While Davis is 29 years-old and incredibly injury prone, his ability on the field is undeniable. He’s a stellar cover corner that plays with physicality and tenacity. Bringing him on with a veteran minimum would be a good move for the Giants. he would provide great depth and could fill a starting role for the time being. His experience would also be a benefit, as the younger players would be able to gain some veteran wisdom. Seems like a win-win from my perspective.

In 2014, Davis had an All-Pro season, recording 27 passes defended and four interceptions. He also had 50 total tackles. There’s nothing that says he can’t replicate that performance given the right scenario, and the Giants may be the perfect fit.

2.) CB Tracy Porter

This would be a big reach in terms of production, but Porter has experience at the NFL’s biggest stage and knows what it takes to succeed at the professional level. He would be a perfect signing in terms of experience and winning knowledge. He’s a guy that could help develop the younger players on the team, similar to the role of Connor Barwin. He might still have some gas left in the tank to play a reserve role in the season ahead.

He would surely be a veteran minimum type of player.

3.) CB Nolan Carroll

At 30 years-old, Nolan Carroll is surely on the back-end of his career, but again, he’s another player with veteran experience that can help develop the secondary. He hasn’t been the most dominant corner throughout his career, but he’s had a few solid seasons. He was Philadelphia’s best corner in 2015, but regressed considerably in 2017.

He could offer value as a depth player and provide the defense with some support and timely rest to keep the unit fresh going into the latter portion of the season.

How can the New York Giants open up a bit of cap-space?

The big question here is: How can the Giants open up money to sign a free agent corner?

Well, cutting offensive lineman John Jerry would be a start. There’s no doubt that they will release a few players, likely a linebacker (Ray-Ray Armstrong) to save a few bucks. This would open yo just enough space to bring on a veteran corner. It’s a move that might be a priority with the young players being featured on the unit.